Millennium Post

Relics revisited: Victoria Memorial to unveil Tagore's letters penned in 1920s

Kolkata: Victoria Memorial Hall (VMH) is all set to unveil two letters penned by Rabindranath Tagore to Dilip Kumar Roy in the 1920s, to mark the occasion of the legendary bard's 158th birth anniversary, which falls on May 9.

The memorial has a large collection of various literary works of Tagore and every year, it retrieves something and brings it to public display.

"These two original letters by Tagore are our 'Objects of the Month' for May and they will be put on display at the Prince Hall of Victoria Memorial in the afternoon on May 8, for the first time ever. The two letters will be on display for three weeks," said Jayanta Sengupta, curator and secretary of VMH.

Dilip Kumar Roy, son of playwright Dwijendralal Roy, was an eminent Bengali musician, musicologist, novelist, poet and essayist. Tagore and Roy shared many stimulating conversations and exchanged many letters, most of them on music and literature.

The two letters that will be put on display are the one written on April 3, 1924, which is a warm invitation to Roy to have more conversations with him and another written in verse in a humorous style on January 18, 1928, saying how much the poet misses his company.

The VMH will also hold an illustrated lecture titled 'New Vistas into Tagorean Theatre' by Ananda Lal, eminent theatre critic and former Professor of English, Jadavpur University, in the conference hall on May 8.

"The world of Tagorean performance is the most under-researched in his huge corpus of work. The Abanindranath Tagore and Gaganendranath Tagore paintings of his theatre art in the Rabindra Bharati Society collection, presently under the care of VMH, are largely unfamiliar to the public and provide many important glimpses into their stage creativity. The lecture will highlight a representative sample of them," Sengupta added.

The talk will also discuss Lal's recent study of non-Bengali political productions of Tagore, which has unearthed a few unknown but significant interpretations, from the world premiere of Red Oleanders in 1928 to Muktadhara in the Narmada Valley in 1993.

The VMH also has an original exercise book in its collection, with writings of Tagore during his stay at Budapest.

Tagore's writings have been popular in Hungary ever since he won the Nobel Prize in 1913 and resulted in many Hungarian poets treading the long journey to Santiniketan. Most of his books have also been translated into Hungarian.

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